Ever since he discovered the photography of Gordon Parks (who passed away in 2006) during his teenage years, Jason Woods knew he found someone to emulate, to look up to, to admire.
"This guy was more than a photographer," says Woods, better known today as DJ Flash Gordon Parks. "He played music. He actually painted. He directed films. I mean, he had so many interests. It was more about the creative spirit for him. He wrote poetry. So, I kinda look at myself that way."
While the 29-year-old, toothpick-gnashing Houstonian is mostly known these days for his record-spinning skills, he's also something of a contemporary renaissance man. A member of local hip-hop collective H.I.S.D. (Hueston Independent Spit District), Woods contributes downloadable productions on the group's Web site (www.peaceuvmine.com), dropping tribute mixes of such icons as Stevie Wonder and George Clinton, as well as co-producing and co-starring on the monthly podcast "The Progress Report."
DJ Flash Gordon Parks
But, just like Parks, he's also quite the shutterbug. He and fellow H.I.S.D. member Eric "Equality" Blaylock collaborated and published the 2005 book The Beautiful Side of Ugly (available at their Web site, www.soularenaissance.com). For the book, Woods took candid, black-and-white shots of Houston's Third Ward community, while Blaylock laid down the words.
Woods continues to take photos (he's H.I.S.D.'s staff photographer) and document his surroundings whenever he can. "Basically, what I try to do is just, you know, capture what's going on around me," he says. "Like, 20 years from now, we'll have an accurate account of how things were going on and how things got shaped to be whatever they will be in the future."
But Woods is out there on the DJ grind on a weekly basis, with a Thursday-night funk/soul/hip-hop residency called "The Spin Cycle" over at Skol Casbar & Grille (2117 Chenevert). He also spins on the fourth Wednesday of every month at the Tasting Room (114 Gray) for "Straight No Chaser," a listening party which spotlights new music from a different artist — local folks Caretta Bell, DJ Sun, D. Rose & DJ Cozmos and Neon Collars have been previously featured.
So, whether he's striking up art musically or visually, Woods hopes any composition he does will expand people's minds, just like the work of the late, great Parks did for him. He says, "I hope it opens them up to, maybe, a world that they hadn't really tapped into, or maybe some thoughts that they hadn't really, like, had, or just make them think a little deeper into something."
Guitarist Huey Long, the last surviving member of the doo-wop pioneers the Ink Spots, passed away last week at his Houston home. The Sealy native was 105 years old, khou.com reported. Long got his start playing banjo in the Frank Davis Louisiana Jazz Band, one of Houston's top Dixieland draws of the 1920s, and played with Texas Guinan at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, he switched to guitar and played with Big Joe Williams, Fletcher Henderson (who brought Long to New York City in the early '40s), Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. Long joined the Ink Spots, whose hits included "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" and "Street of Dreams," in the mid-'40s before attending college in Los Angeles and then moving back to Houston. His daughter Anita, who survives him, founded the Huey Long Museum in the Heights at 117 E. 20th St.
1836 Richmond, 713-666-5555
1. Sonic Youth, The Eternal LP/CD
2. Bolt Thrower, In Battle There Is No Law (reissue) CD
3. Warbringer, Waking Into Nightmares LP/CD
4. Wooden Shjips, Dos LP/CD
5. Jack-O & the Tennessee Tearjerkers, Disco Outlaw LP/CD
6. Bardo Pond, Peri LP/CD
7. Dead Roses, "Sleep Dep."/ "Liar" 7"
8. Sunn O))), Monoliths & Dimensions CD
9. Bishop Perry Tillis, In Times Like These LP
10. Kurt Vile, Constant Hitmaker LP
KBXX (97.9 FM)
Top Songs, June 12
Data from www.yes.com
1. Drake feat. Lil Wayne, "Every Girl in the World"
2. Drake, "Best I Ever Had"
3. Yung L.A. feat. T.I. & Young Dro, "Ain't I"
4. Beyonce, "Ego"
5. Pleasure P, "Boyfriend #2"
6. Ne-Yo feat. Fabolous & Jamie Foxx, "Miss Independent (She Got Her Own)"
7. Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain, "Blame It"
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8. Jeremiah, "Birthday Sex"
9. Birdman feat. Lil Wayne, "Always Strapped"
10. Keri Hilson feat. Ne-Yo & Kanye West, "Knock You Down"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)